Do I Still Need to Conduct A Stormwater Annual Comprehensive Inspection? Reply

CAPACCIO recently received questions related to the Stormwater Annual Comprehensive Inspection (ACI) which is a requirement under the 2008 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). Specifically permitees wanted to know if they had to conduct the ACI on or before September 29 and also submit the report this year.

We developed this flow diagram to help companies determine if they have to conduct and submit a Stormwater ACI report.

http://www.capaccio.com/handouts/Inspection_requirements.pdf

Please contact Chris Walton at cwalton@capaccio.com or at 508.970.0033 ext. 139 if you need further clarification.

EPA Seeks Small Business Input on Modifications to RMP Rule Reply

On June 19, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a formal request for input on modernizing the Risk Management Plan (RMP) Rule.  The EPA is seeking input from small business, governments, and not-for-profit organizations to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SERs) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel. This panel will focus on the Agency’s development of a rule that proposes to modify the current RMP regulation to reduce the likelihood of accidental releases of toxic and flammable substances at chemical facilities, and improve emergency response when those releases occur. This aligns with Executive Order 13650 entitled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security (EO 13650) that President Obama signed on August 1, 2013. EO 13650 directs the federal government to carry out a number of tasks whose overall aim is to prevent chemical accidents. These tasks include: improving operational coordination with state and local partners; enhancing Federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernizing policies, regulations and standards; and working with stakeholders to identify best practices.

The panel will include federal representatives from the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and EPA. The panel members ask a selected group of SERs to provide advice and recommendations on behalf of their company, community, or organization to inform the panel members about the potential impacts of the proposed rule on small entities.

EPA seeks self-nominations directly from the small entities that may be subject to the rule requirements. Other representatives, such as trade associations that exclusively or at least primarily represent potentially regulated small entities, may also serve as SERs.

Self-nominations may be submitted through the link below and must be received by July 3, 2015. Nominate yourself as a SER: http://www.epa.gov/rfa/risk-management-plan.html

For more information on the RMP Rule, please contact Chris Walton, PE, BCEE, at 508-970-0033 ext. 139 or cwalton@capaccio.com.

The EPA Considers Potential Revisions to its Risk Management Program Reply

On July 24th, 2014,the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Request for Information (RFI), soliciting public input on potential revisions to its Risk Management Program (RMP) with the goal of modernizing its regulations as mandated by the federal government under Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The ultimate purpose of the proposed rules is to prevent major chemical accidents such as the West, Texas explosion that occurred at the West Fertilizer facility on April 17, 2013. OSHA already issued a similar RFI on December 9, 2013 for its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard and while the EPA was not explicitly required to publish an RFI, its RMP regulation is so closely tied to PSM that the agency decided to act in parallel with OSHA.

Both the RMP and PSM regulations affect facilities with processes that utilize chemicals in quantities above established thresholds (both the EPA and OSHA developed threshold quantity lists). Facilities that fall under PSM or RMP must put in place a series of management systems and maintain certain required documentation, which are intended to improve chemical process safety and prevent catastrophes.

The EPA’s RFI requests much of the same information as OSHA’s, such as data on the economic impacts and safety benefits of amending the regulation. Both agencies are also considering adding new substances to their lists of regulated substances and adopting additional management system requirements. Proposed rules that may be of particular interest include:

•Requiring third party auditors for Compliance Audits
Like OSHA, the EPA is also considering requiring third-party auditors to conduct compliance audits, which are required at least every three years.The current requirement is only that at least one person “knowledgeable in the process” be part of the compliance audit team.

•Revising the scope of Mechanical Integrity to include safety-critical equipment
Mechanical integrity requires inspections and maintenance procedures of piping systems, valves, storage tanks, pressure vessels, relief and vent systems and devices, emergency shutdown systems controls (including monitoring devices, sensors, alarms, and interlocks) and pumps, but the EPA believes including safety-critical equipment will help improve chemical processing safety.

•Add stationary source location requirements to Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)
While facility siting must be addressed in a PHA, the EPA is considering expanding the specific requirements. For example, they are considering adding the establishment of buffer or setback zones to RMP requirements—these zones would be distances from the potential danger where it would be safe to house certain occupancies, such as control rooms, cafeterias, or contractor trailers. The idea behind this is to separate the public and other facilities from consequences of process incidents.

•Changing the criteria for Worst Case Release Scenarios to include quantities of aggregate vessels stored in close proximity
The RMP regulation currently requires facilities to determine the maximum quantity of a regulated substance release from a vessel, but does not require sites to take into account numerous small vessels of hazardous substances.

For a complete list of proposed RMP rules see the EPA’s RFI:
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/07/31/2014-18037/accidental-release-prevention-requirements-risk-management-programs-under-the-clean-air-act-section

The public will have until October 29th, 2014 to submit written comments online, http://www.regulations.gov (the portal for federal rulemaking), or by mail.
To view information on Executive Order 13650:
http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/eo_improving_chem_fac.htm

OSHA’s RFI for the PSM regulations can be found here:
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/12/09/2013-29197/process-safety-management-and-prevention-of-major-chemical-accidents

For more information, please contact Alex Wong Berman at 508.970.0033 ext. 126 or aberman@capaccio.com.

Is Green Infrastructure an Effective Solution? 1

As discussed in our previous blog entries, water scarcity and failing infrastructure are important sustainability concerns. If you look around, you may notice areas where our infrastructure needs replacement or repair, but so few communities can afford the overwhelming costs. The EPA believes that green infrastructure offers a resilient and affordable solution.

Green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage water and create healthier urban environments.  Offering highly scalable options, green infrastructure includes anything along the lines of harvesting rainwater, permeable pavement, green roofs, and land conservation. Following suit with the definition of sustainability, these applications aim to mimic or incorporate nature harmoniously.

A prime local example is the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway that sits above Boston’s infamous Big Dig I-93 tunnel. Prior to the Big Dig, this area was a dark, barren, hazard-ridden wasted space. But now, there consists a mile-long path connecting several parks and neighborhoods resulting in a green infrastructure including public open space, storm water management, composting, and reduced costs of water and electricity.

This project came together during the new construction of the Big Dig. Would such a green infrastructure project be as effective amidst failing infrastructure? Is green infrastructure a step in the right direction for sustainability? Is it a fair trade to pour “green” into infrastructure projects in order to reap the return in environmentally-friendly “green”?